92-year-old's memoir tells the forgotten story of a German official who sabotaged Nazi deportations and saved more Jews than Schindler

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/02/4000-jews-saved.html


Maybe a few words on the fact 75% of Holland’s Jews were murdered by the Nazis, largely due to the cooperation of the Dutch, and that antisemitism is also rising in Europe would be in order here.


I know trumps the rage right now for good reason but I really hope this book gets some traction in Germany too because scary shit is happening all over. No pasaran!


As right-wing populism once more oozes out from history’s paving stones, we need to hear more stories like this. I especially like this part:

Calmeyer, in the name of thorough research, dragged the decision-making process out as long as possible, delaying deportation to concentration camps.

“Look, do you want this genocide done fast or do you want it done right? You’re certainly not paying me enough to do both!”

[pitch-black humour aside, work-to-rule and slowdowns are always an effective way to resist.]


No matter how bad it gets, it is your duty to peacefully resist.


Reasonable people may disagree on the “peacefully” part depending on the situation.


I wonder if we’ll ever learn accounts of disillusioned ICE agents who spent the Trump years secretly working to keep refugee children out of border camps.


WW II era “Simple Sabotage Field Manual” has a whole chapter (“General Interference
with Organizations and Production”) dedicated mostly to bureaucratic sabotage:


Many of the methods described there would be just as effective today.


Why though? Were they worried about it being traumatizing (I would think it could just as easily be cathartic), or did they have some personal reason they didn’t want the Holocaust discussed? Not casting aspersions, just wondering what reason someone could have for not wanting her to discuss them since her friends are, presumably, not Deniers.

It’s worrying when the people positioning themselves as the keepers of history allow petty squabbling or greed to suppress it.


When I was younger, I was on a mailing list with a former German soldier who fought in World War II.

He had worked in the shipyards before everyone was eventually drafted into the army and apparently the Nazis weren’t exactly immune to labor unrest either. (I’d be hugely surprised if some Nazi officials weren’t making a fortune in war profiteering at the expense of the laborers).

He too mentioned the effectiveness of work-to-rule during these labor disputes. As draconian as the Nazis where in dealing with the lower class interfering with the war effort, they could never quite bring themselves to shoot laborers for following the rules.


This isn’t the first book about Calmeyer. He’s not really forgotten.


In no small part due to one man at the census bureau.
His French counterpart did the exact opposite.
IBM and the Holocaust covers this very well.


That line really caught me off guard too…

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and saved more Jews than Schindler

weird flex but ok

When you consider the percentages in other countries, the Netherlands’ 75% is actually a sign that the sabotage worked.

For example, 90% of a unique Jewish community in Greece, and Poland was even worse:


or one can do both depending on the circumstances

to a point. and then resist non-peacefully if needed.

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